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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2003): Education - UK - Overseas

CLASSI-`CAL POLITICAL ECONOMY AND THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES IN THE NEW KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY (1)

M.A. Peters

Globalisation, Societies and Education, Vol. 1, 2003, p.153-168

The distribution of knowledge is essential to economic performance (OECD report 1996) and universities are seen as one of the key components in this at both local (community and regional development) and national (global civic communication) level. The knowledge economy operates very differently from the industrial economy and indeed knowledge as a commodity defies the traditional commodity laws of scarcity and homogeneity. Markets for information depend on reputation, repeated interactions and, most significantly, trust. Although the majority of the old industries have been privatised, education is still very much a state run entity, with the government as owners and controllers of the new knowledge economy. However, most Western governments are beginning to distance themselves from public provision of education in favour of privatised knowledge production and the integration of knowledge businesses and public education.

INCLUDING LEARNERS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES: STRESSFUL FOR TEACHERS

P. Engelbrecht and others

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, Vol. 50, 2003, p.293-308

Teaching is ranked in the top quartile on complexity for all occupations and is also considered to be a high-stress profession. This stress is all the more acute in South Africa, where inadequate working conditions and salaries and a disregard for the professional status of teachers are frequent. Since 1994 learners with special needs have also been included in mainstream South African classrooms and this study investigates the additional stress which this causes teachers. It concludes that stress is increased with the introduction of a child with learning disabilities and highlights five particular areas - administrative issues, support, the behaviour of the learner, teachers' self-perceived competence and a lack of interaction with parents. These all point to a lack of effective preparation of teachers to accommodate learners with disabilities in a mainstream classroom and the article stresses that training is essential if the situation is to improve.

LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER: THE JAPANESE MODEL OF EARLY YEARS EDUCATION

J. Whitburn

International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol.11, 2003, p. 155-175

On entering elementary school, Japanese children have skills and knowledge that allow them to meet the expectations of the classroom culture. They are able to work effectively unsupervised and take responsibility for their own learning and discipline, as well as that of their peers. The welfare of the group is viewed as being of the utmost importance. The author explores the aims and structure of the Japanese pre-school system in order to establish how it prepares children for school. It is an environment where children are "learning to learn", with emphasis placed on the needs of others and the importance of learning the right way to do things. In this, children are guided rather than rigidly supervised and are encouraged to solve their own disputes and recognise the consequences of their own behaviour both to themselves and the group. Children are also introduced to routines, such as taking the register and dining etiquette. Pre-school develops children's social skills and leaves them confident and self reliant. They have learnt to live together and this allows them to concentrate fully on formal learning.

SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES

V.A. Bali and R.M. Alvarez

Social Science Quarterly, vol.84, 2003, p.485-507

African-American and Hispanic students in US schools tend to have lower test scores than white students at all levels of education. Study analysed individual-level data from a school district in California to examine the effect of school factors and race on test scores. Research showed that school policies impact on all racial groups in a similar way, without redistributing benefits across groups. Closing the race gap in test scores may therefore entail more than school-based solutions.

SCHOOLYARD REVOLUTIONS: HOW RESEARCH ON URBAN SCHOOL REFORM UNDERMINES REFORM

J.P. Viteritti

Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 118, 2003, p.233-257

Parents in the US are offered alternatives to failing state schools in the shape of charter schools and voucher schemes. However, these alternatives are small scale and do not create a free market in education. State schools retain their near monopoly of education provision. In these circumstances the effectiveness of school choice cannot be properly tested because state schools are not truly exposed to competition.

SIMILAR TRENDS, DIVERSE AGENDAS: HIGHER EDUCATION REFORMS IN EAST ASIA

K-H Mok

Globalisation, Societies and Education, Vol. 1, 2003, p.201-221

The globalised economy has changed the way we live; interchanges and movement of capital are freer and quicker, borders have been transcended. The state had been transformed from a provider of benefits to a developer of entrepreneurs. These challenges have forced East Asian Governments to take action in order to develop higher education, but have also given individual nations opportunities to forward their own political purposes and local agendas. Social and economic development has been facilitated through investment in higher education. Some decentralisation has occurred as links between universities and industry have been encouraged but the state retains ultimate authority. Globalisation has provided a springboard for development, but diverse national and local agendas have given different meaning to common management jargon and statements.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA

J.M. Lehner and M. Dikany

International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 7, 2003, p.217-226

Vocational training in Austria largely consists of apprenticeships which combine on-the-job training and specialised school attendance and which take two or three years to complete. This type of training is shaped by and adapted to the structure of the Austrian economy, which is made up of mostly small and medium sized enterprises. It is also strongly, though decreasingly, influenced by the system of social and economic partnership in Austria.

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